District 97's prekindergarten program (PKP) has earned the Gold Circle of Quality in ExceleRate Illinois, which is the state’s quality recognition and improvement system for early learning and development programs. ExceleRate "unifies all of the state’s early learning programs under a common set of standards across multiple settings to provide families with important information about quality early learning programs in their community."
Below are several of the standards the PKP program had to meet to earn this rating.
- Program demonstrates high quality of classroom environment
- Program demonstrates high quality, developmentally appropriate instructional practices
- Program has policies and procedures in place to ensure all children (birth to 5 years) are screened; parents/guardians are provided with information on screening results; and children for whom the screening identifies a developmental concern are referred for further evaluation
- Program utilizes an appropriate assessment tool that aligns with the curriculum to document children’s progress over time with measurable outcomes; assessment results are used to inform instruction for individual children
- All classroom teaching staff have completed ExceleRate-approved or ISBE-approved training on inclusion of children with special needs; program submits annual data on number of children with special needs served; program has a implements written policies and procedures detailing how the program supports children who have IEPs
- Program has policy and procedures to ensure strong partnerships with families and within their community
- Program implements a written plan of activities and strategies that facilitate the transition of children and families into and out of classrooms, early learning environments, community services, and school settings (including transition to kindergarten
- Program demonstrates high quality program administration practices
- Program demonstrates progress towards meeting objectives of its Continuous Quality Improvement Plan based on self-assessment results, and implements a continuous quality improvement process that includes analysis of child and classroom data
- Program implements evidence-based policies, practices, curriculum and assessments that support the development of linguistically /racially/culturally diverse children and families
You can learn more about ExceleRate Illinois, including the specific requirements for each Circle of Quality, by visiting www.excelerateillinoisproviders.com.